North Stars Fans So Scarred, They Can't Cheer for Another Team
As the Minnesota Wild front office and players head to the lakes, beaches, and golf courses to await the start of training camp, we here, in the Wilderness, can't wait any longer for the start of the hockey season. Minnesota loves its hockey, right? We were born in the game and the game is in our blood, right? We fans have this mantra so ingrained into our very being that we believe that because Minnesota is that State of Hockey, every single citizen of this state is a fan of the Wild. Not so...
Unless you lived under a rock for the past 21 years, you probably remember a team called the North Stars. They were actually an NHL team and not some IHL or WHA team from the past either. Many friends, family, and co-workers (mostly those 30 and older) were probably avid fans of the North Stars too. They tell us old stories of Cesare Maniago, Neal Broten, Bobby Smith, and even some young kid named Mike Modano. They talk about how loud they used to scream for their favorite team.
Then one day, this guy named Norm Green came and knocked the wind out of every one of those fans. He uprooted the team from L'etoille du Nord to the belt buckle capital in the Lone Star State. It was a move that forced the man's name to the top of many fans' list of, "People to Hate." Secord even dropped a few notches on the list to make room for Norm Green and his ego. North Star fans had their hearts ripped out and their cathedral imploded and reduced to rubble.
Fast forward through the years of getting our hockey fix by watching the WCHA and the Gophers. It was fun hockey to watch, but it just wasn't the same. We didn't get to see the best players in the world roll through town. It was a night in October in the year 2000 when the NHL finally returned to Minnesota in a brand new house in St. Paul. This team was not the North Stars of old, but a new team named the Wild. The Wild seemed to have thousands and thousands of fans behind them. Except, these were new fans of hockey. Only a few of those fans were hold overs from the North Stars heydays.
Where did their passion for the game go? Have you heard this one before: "I used to watch the North Stars a lot - I was a big fan! But I just can't get in to the Wild." Were you only fans of the team before, or were you fans of hockey? The franchise was only one aspect of the game, but the game was always here, just in different packaging. How could someone say they liked hockey as much as they did but not be excited for a new professional franchise in their backyard?
The answer: these people have been deeply scarred for life. They may not be entirely sane either. I get completely that losing your favorite team by relocation, contraction, or whatever other way a team can be lost by a fan base, but I just never understood why someone can love hockey, but, "can't get into the Wild," unless there is some serious psychological scarring at play. So, what do these people do now during their free time in the winter? Surely they don't watch basketball. Perhaps they post on the Star tribune comments section with, "Who cares?" and, "Wild who?"
I hope that with great success in the future, these former fans of hockey will start to come crawling back to the game. Unfortunately, the Wild are the only ones that can make that happen, as well as those particular individuals. So let's end this abyss as humanly possible so we, Wild Fans, can start changing minds with our Flag Flying High and Free!